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Pocket Spills & Coin Caches


Finding even just one coin when you are out metal detecting can be pretty darn exciting, especially if say it's a really old coin or a silver or gold coin. When you find multiple coins in the same hole though well that's even more exciting. It can really get your heart pumping when you open up a plug, locate a coin and then discover there's more than just one hiding there in the hole. It's always a wise thing to re-scan your holes before you close them up cause well hey you never really do know what is lying there just waiting to be found. Coin spills typically happen when someone sits or lies down on the ground.



I remember the first coin spill I found. Technically, Gino and I found it together. It was my birthday and we were metal detecting in the woods. It was during our first year detecting. Back in the beginning we only had one metal detector, a Whites M6. Gino was swinging the detector and I was digging and recovering the targets. We got a beautiful sounding signal. I remember pulling the first copper from the hole. It brought an instant smile to my face and then Gino located another beautiful sounding signal right next to the hole I just dug. We hadn't even filled in the first hole and I dug another one. All together we found five coppers, a British Colonial Copper, a Connecticut State Copper, a Draped Bust Large Cent, a Classic Head Large Cent, and a Matron Head Large Cent. The coins are pictured above. It was a pretty awesome day. I remember at the time thinking how incredible it was that we were able to find so many old coins in the ground. I hadn't been that excited over a one cent coin since childhood. It was shortly after this hunt that I realized I needed to purchase a metal detector of my own.

Pocket spills are exciting. The next item you pull from the ground could be better than the last or it might just end up being worse than the last. You just never know. Metal detecting is kind of like gambling. You might win big or you could end up digging trash all day long. It's that chance of finding something really incredible that keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat. It's also what keeps most of us going back for more I imagine. And when you find one old coin the possibility is there that there are more, maybe if you're lucky many more. Since the discovery of my first pocket spill I have found a few other spills. They have all consisted of modern coins though. Another one of the spills I dug up is pictured above,


Patrick Whitton has been fortunate to find a few pocket spills. He dug one pocket spill which consisted of 5 Large Cents and 1 Seated Half Dime. This particular spill is the oldest one in age that he has dug to date. The 1847 Seated half dime is the most modern coin in the bunch. If you look at the coins, pictured above, you can see how they were basically stacked up on top of one another in the ground. The coins were about 8 inches deep. Patrick was using the XP Deus when he recovered them. When he swung his coil over them his XP Deus screamed at him. This spill was discovered at the site of an old mansion. Around the year 1847, the mansion would have been in its prime. It was owned by one of the most prominent figures in the area. There are records showing that multiple US Presidents visited the mansion during its day.


Patrick also dug a spill with 6 Shield Nickels, 1 Two Cent Piece, and 1 Flying Eagle Cent. Patrick found this coin spill on a friend's property in a remote area of the woods. His friend called him and asked for help trying to find a socket that he had dropped near his drilled well. Patrick never did find the socket. His detector picked up the Two Cent Piece first. It was just sitting on top of the ground next to the well. The rest of the coins were all found in a 1 foot area near where the Two Cent Piece was discovered. They were only just an inch or so below the surface. It's interesting that the old coins weren't deeper. As it turns out, the location where Patrick found the coins was an old cart path. A hundred and fifty years ago people traveled along the path when headed to Schenectady, NY. Maybe someone traveling the path lost the old coins. Who Know? Congratulations to Patrick on finding some really great pocket spills. I hope that there are many more that he discovers in the future as well.


Kendall Edkins favorite pocket spill that he has found metal detecting is pictured above. He was out detecting with his friend Ed Merrill when he found a 1874 Seated Half Dollar and a 1895 Barber Quarter. In all of Ed's years metal detecting he has never found a Barber Quarter. You could say it's his white whale. I think we probably all have a white whale of our own. You know that one item you just never can seem to find. You chase and chase and chase after it, you might even become a little obsessed with finding one, but that particular item just always, somehow, seems to elude you. Sometimes you even watch as your friends dig up your white whale right in front of your eyes. That's what happened to Ed on this particular day, he stood by and watched as his good friend Kendall Edkins pulled a Barber Quarter and Seated Half Dollar from the same hole. Congratulations to Kendall on finding a sweet pocket spill and to Ed I wish you the best of luck on your search for that Barber Quarter.


Peter Sorrell found the pocket spill pictured above. The spill consisted of an 1826 King George III Farthing, an 1849 Large Cent, and 1852 Large Cent. It's always a good feeling when you find three old coppers all in the same day. It’s even better when the coins all come from the same hole. Experiencing a little thrill of excitement is important in life. It motivates and moves people into action like nothing else I have ever seen. Excitement allows for momentum to build which in turn brings us that amazing feeling of happiness. Congratulations to Peter! I hope the memory of the moment brings you happiness for a long time to come.


David Symula dug up the five copper coins pictured above. All five of the coins are Draped Bust Large Cents dating in age from 1797 to 1805. David found all of the coins within a three foot area. Two other coins came from that same little space as well. There was an 1800 Draped Bust Large Cent and a 1787 Connecticut Copper. I know I would have been pretty stoked to dig up five Draped Bust Large Cents all in the same day. Congrats to David on his discovery!


David Quickenton dug 2 1864 Two Cent Pieces, 1 Shield Nickel, and a 1839 Indian Head Cent while metal detecting in a public park. 1839 was the first year that the US mint produced Indian Head Cents. The coins are pictured above. The Barber Dime that is included in the photo was not a part of the pocket spill. It was found at the site on the same day therefore that is why it is included in the photo. David said that the signal he got from his detector was a little strange. He's not really sure what made him dig it, but he sure is glad that he did. When he set his shovel into the ground he wasn't expecting to discover 4 old coins all in the same hole. The surprises that you never expect are the best ones. Congrats to David and I hope the future brings him many more wonderful surprises.


Ron Russotti found the pocket spill pictured above on an old wooded hillside trail. The spill consisted of a 1941 Washington Quarter, a 1936 Mercury dime, a 1936 Buffalo nickel, a 1943 War Nickel, and a 1944 Wheat Cent. There was also a 1990 Lincoln Cent in the hole as well which has to make you wonder. Did the 1990 Lincoln Cent just coincidentally wind up getting lost in the very same spot some 40 years later? Thanks to Ron for sharing his interesting pocket spill and I wish him the best of luck finding more pocket spills in the future.


Pictured above are two Seated dimes that Tony Mantia found in the same hole. At the point in time when Tony dug the spill he had only ever found one Seated coin, a 1853 Half Dime. He was metal detecting in a yard and got a nice signal. He was surprised to discover not just one Seated Dime, but two. One is dated 1862 and the other is dated 1890. Congratulations to Tony! Seated dimes don't seem to turn up with great regularity so when you find two in one hole that's pretty awesome.


John Gleto was out metal detecting at a cellar hole with his friend James Bertolasio when he found an old coin holder. The coin holder held 2 Liberty Head nickels, 3 Indian Head Cents, 1 Barber dime, and 1 Wheat Cent. I have always dreamed about discovering a coin holder or purse filled with old coins. Pulling all of the coins free from their holder must have been a pretty exciting experience. John also dug a 7 copper coin spill, all Large Cents. Congratulations to John on his great finds!


James Berolasio found a 5 coin pocket spill at a standing home in Bedford county, PA. The home site is listed on a 1860's map of the area. James found 2 Two Cent Pieces, 1 Three Cent Nickel, and 2 Indian Head Cents all in the same hole. Congrats to James!


Ray Terwillger found 5 Walking Liberty Half dollars, 1 Buffalo Nickel, and 3 Wheat Cents all in the same hole. Ray's pocket spill is pictured above. The 2 dimes that are included in the photo were found a few feet away from the pocket spill. Ray was in his 30th year of metal detecting when he dug up the pocket spill. He found the coins in Central, NY, a 1/4 mile from his home. It's always thrilling to find big silver coins so I'm sure it was probably a pretty exciting experience for Ray when he pulled five Walking Liberty Half dollars free from the dirt.


Roland Ozols best pocket spill made it into the American Digger magazine. It is pictured above. The coin spill consisted of an 1837 "Jackass Running" Hard Times Token, an 1837 Substitute for Shin Plasters Hard Times Token, 1882 William Penn Bicentennial Commemorative coin, an 1883 Liberty Head Nickel, an 1863 Dix Civil War Era Token, an 1863 Liberty Head Civil War Era token, and 3 Indian Head Cents (1860, 1862, and 1863). Roland dug the pocket spill near the base of an old large oak tree. Congrats to Roland on digging up a great pocket spill.


Donnie Bailey dug the two copper coin spill pictured above. He found them in the same hole next to a very small sapling at a hammered cellar hole. Donnie said that ever since then he always makes sure to swing his coil near any trees at the sites he detects at, especially so at hammered sites. That's a location that people probably don't typically detect near. It paid off for Donnie. Donnie also found a spill of coal camp tokens. There were 5 or 6 of them in a stack about 5 inches deep. Donnie speculates that some kid may have been playing with them in their yard after the coal mining camp store closed down. They were all 10 cent trade tokens from The Procter Coal Company in Red Ash, KY. There are no photos of the token spill. Donnie found them back before the invention of cell phones. He gave the tokens to the homeowner. I'm sure that made the homeowner very happy. Thanks to Donnie for sharing the stories of the pocket spills he has discovered and I wish him the best of luck discovering more.


Doug Bowden found the pocket spill pictured above at a cellar hole. The site was once an old mill. The spill consisted of 3 Two Cent Pieces. Doug found them all stuck together in the same hole. Congratulations to Doug on finding a terrific pocket spill.


Steve Evans was metal detecting at a French and Indian War encampment site in the mountains of Pennsylvania when he dug the only colonial pocket spill he has ever found. He said he was finding a lot of musket balls when he came across a rotten log. Steve gave the log a kick and it splintered apart. He swung his coil and got a nice, strong signal. Steve found two corroded coppers and a cut Spanish 8 Reale. This happened back during the 1990's so there aren't any dug photos of the finds, there are only great memories of the moment. Congrats to Steve!


Dave Wise has been blessed to have dug a few nice pocket spills over the years. He has dug up copper coin spills. He once found 5 Canadian Silver Dollars, all in the same hole. Dave also found a Trime pocket spill when out metal detecting one day. Dave was swinging his coil, he got a signal, dug it, and discovered 3 Three Cent Silver coins. I personally have always liked Three Cent Silver coins. Who doesn't like them? Finding three of them all in the same hole must have been an exciting experience for Dave. The Three Cent Silver is actually the first US silver coin to have had a metal consistency that was worth less than the face value of the coin itself. Congratulations to Dave on digging up some really fantastic pocket spills!


CT Todd has been pretty fortunate as well when it comes to discovering pocket spills. Todd found a pocket spill of Indian Head Cents, Silver coins, and 1 Wheat Cent when metal detecting at the Great Catskills Hunt. The hunt was put on by the Nor’easters metal detecting club.


CT Todd dug up another pocket spill at a 1760's tavern/ farmhouse site. The site had been hunted many times before. The lawn area I guess is a pretty small space with a cow pasture directly along side of it. At one point in time the pasture was a part of the yard. Todd secured permission and went detecting at site one day. The people who detected the site prior to Todd must have never bothered to climb over the fence. Maybe they didn't want to get their feet dirty. Who knows? CT Todd dug six coppers that day and a metal coin purse handle. The spill was found in three holes within a very tight triangle. You can find video footage of another one of the pocket spills Todd has found on his YouTube channel CT_Todd. I will post the link to the video at the end of this blog.


CT Todd also dug a pocket spill consisting of a 1798 Spanish 1/2 Real, a 1816 Large Cent, a Draped Bust Large Cent with no date, and another slick copper. He was walking through the woods at a rather fast pace, swinging his detector as he walked. He was on his way headed to a better spot to do some detecting. Todd got the good signal, stopped to check it out, and dug up his oldest pocket spill to date. Congratulations to Todd on finding some incredible coin spills


I have never found a cache of coins but I imagine that discovering one is probably more exciting than digging up a pocket spill. A cache of coins is a group of coins that were intentionally buried. Over the course of history people have buried coin caches for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes people buried their own valuable coins with the intention to retrieve them later. They did so to keep them safe or hide them away from others. Some caches may have ended being buried hastily, during an emergency situation. Some caches are of coins and other valuables that were taken away from their original owner and hidden against their will. Caches vary in size. Some have more coins than others.


Manny Birittieri and his digging partner found a cache of US Large Cents. They found a total of 226 Large Cents all together. They discovered the cache when digging out of a privy in NYC. They also found remnant of a burlap sack. The Large Cents were all dated from 1843-1846. The photo above only shows Manny's half of the hoard. His digging buddy has the other half. It must have been a pretty incredible feeling to keep pulling coin after coin after coin from the ground. Congrats to both Manny and his digging partner on finding a really cool cache of large cents!


Michael Gesel recovered 20,000 Amusement tokens from the Niagara River in 2005. They were dumped in the river by the Buffalo Sewer Authority, after being collected for decades into Fruit Canning Jars & Milk Bottles, inside their "Screen & Grit" sorting building. The tokens were at a depth of 18 feet. Michael's find isn't a cache or a coin spill. I'm not really sure what you would call it but I'm sure it brought him joy to find it.


If you have ever found a pocket spill or cache of coins, I would love to hear all about it. You can leave a comment or post a photo in the section below. I hope you have a wonderful week! Happy Hunting!


Here is the link to the video footage of one of the many coin spills CT Todd has dug: https://youtu.be/IldUt6cTKzI


Also, here's the link for the video footage of Kendall's pocket spill if you are interested in watching his recovery as well.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MPhRHtmJObM

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